I suppose I should go and be a good citizen by voting in Alberta's provincial election. Why must I always leave these things to the last moment?
I like this bizarre threat from North Korea:
Not the fact that they made a horrible threat against South Korea, but the strange wording of the threat:
"The reclusive nation on Monday threatened unspecified "special actions" against South Korea that would turn parts of Seoul into ashes. In a statement released by its official state-run media, North Korean leaders vowed to "reduce all ... to ashes in three or four minutes ... by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style." Maybe that threat sounded more sane in Korean.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
"We must fight on!"
"We'll die. We fight and we die, that's how it goes."
"Then we die gloriously!"
"There's an important word there, and it's not gloriously."
- Only You Can Save Mankind
The problem is that a lot of what Hollande is promising will make things worse for everyone.
Hopefully he'll dump policies like retirement at 60 and come up with a policy that reduces the budget deficit to sustainable levels without causing too much pain to the poor and the working class.
The Social Security Trust Fund is expected to be depleted by 2033.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about what that would mean:
Benefits have actually been rising faster than inflation for decades so 75% of "full" benefits in 2033 is likely to be equal to or higher than present benefits.As Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue pointed out at a press briefing today, “exhaustion is an actuarial term of art and it does not mean there will be no money left to pay any benefits. Come 2033, if Congress does nothing, there will be sufficient assets to pay 75% of the benefits.’’
I saw in the '70s predictions that it would all be "gone" by now. It always hinges on "if Congress does nothing". Well, they're not going to do nothing, are they? They always do something (their image of the last four years notwithstanding).
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
"Can it, you nit!" - Violet Beauregard
"And Paradox is never correct. About anything."- Kid Omega
Decorum & Friends (A City of Heroes archive)
So they'll increase the rate of the payroll tax; lift the maximum amount subject to tax (it occurs to me you could link that to the COLA formula used to increase benefits); push up the retirement age and reduce the real value of entitlements by increasing them by less than the inflation rate but short of nuclear war I don't think they'll ever say "Sorry, you're getting $50 less this month than you got last month."
MSNBC appears to have scooped the Planetary Resources announcement planned for tomorrow.
The short version: cheap space telescopes to launch starting within 18 months, followed by some sort of space tug and resource extraction package within 3-5 years.
It sounds like they want to target carbonaceous asteroids so I'm assuming they plan to fractionally distill them in space to get water and Oxygen and other gases.
Way better than a Segway.
Some less depressing news from South America.
Peru is undergoing a major economic boom - and they're embracing the Brazilian development model pioneered by Lula Da Silva of targeted social spending to ensure that the poor benefit disproportionately from the growth.